Lazio took an important step towards UEFA Champions League qualification with a 1-0 Serie A win at Sampdoria.
The hosts were made to regret a host of missed chances before Santiago Gentiletti scored what proved to be the winner nine minutes after half-time.
Stefano Pioli’s team are up to second in the table ahead of city rivals Roma taking on Udinese on Sunday and Lazio could secure a top three spot with a game to spare next weekend if fourth-placed Napoli do not beat Cesena on Monday.
Senad Lulic almost put Lazio in front after the half hour before Sampdoria midfielder Roberto Soriano burst into the penalty area only to fire wide.
Pedro Obiang also blazed wastefully over before the break for Sampdoria and Samuel Eto’o spurned a one-on-one opportunity before Gentiletti struck.
Returning to the Lazio side at the venue where he sustained a knee ligament injury against Genoa in September, the Argentinian defender bundled home a corner despite Eto’o’s despairing efforts on the line.
Lazio could have secured victory by a more handsome margin, Antonio Candreva and Filip Djordjevic almost capitalising as Sampdoria pressed forward for the equaliser.
It was not forthcoming, however, leaving the European hopes of the Genovese outfit in the balance, while Lazio turn their attention towards Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final versus Juventus in high spirits.